Decline in auto sales hits home

Published 2:40 pm Monday, January 12, 2009

The numbers are in and December was not a good month for auto manufacturers and suppliers.

Automakers across the board posted declines from December 2007, although some did post increases from November 2008.

In Alabama, the three vehicles produced at the Vance Mercedes-Benz factory all posted declines, while the two vehicles built at Honda’s Lincoln plant also posted declines.

These recent declines have had a direct impact on not only Shelby County’s automobile dealerships, but also on manufacturers.

ACG Automotive Americas, an Alabaster manufacturing plant that assembles vehicle windows and windshields for Alabama’s Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Honda and Mercedes plants, has also seen a direct impact from the slumping auto market.

A plant manager at AGC, who asked that he not be identified, said the manufacturer has not laid off any employees and doesn’t plan to in the immediate future.

“We do not anticipate cutting back,” he said.

Although AGC has no plans to cut back its workforce, it has been forced to cut back work time.

“We’ve had to go back to non-production days,” he said. “Our customers are going through non-purchasing days, we’re having to do the same.”

The recent downturn has also affect those companies who supply AGC with the materials to assemble the windows and windshields.

“It affects not only us, but our suppliers as well,” he said.